Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 credit card changes coming soon. Also in the news: 4 ways to pay for college if your financial aid isn’t enough, the best credit cards for recent college grads, and the decline in house flipping profitability.

5 Credit Card Changes — With More Rewards, Less Fraud — Coming Soon
A sneak peek at what’s to come.

4 Ways to Pay for College If Your Financial Aid Isn’t Enough
You still have options.

The Best Credit Cards for Recent College Grads
Time to start building solid credit.

Is house flipping starting to flop? It’s “getting less and less profitable”
Return on investments reaches an 8-year low.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to buy a house without help from your family. Also in the news: What Walmart’s upgraded cards have in store for shoppers, the cheapest ways to fly to Disney World using points and miles, and how to boost your savings post-Fed interest rates cuts.

How to Buy a House Without Help From Your Family
Doing it on your own.

What Walmart’s Upgraded Cards Have In Store for Shoppers
Better perks are coming.

Cheapest Ways to Fly to Disney World Using Points and Miles
How to play the rewards game.

The Fed just cut interest rates. Here’s how to boost your savings
Time to shop around.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to make living in a new place a reality. Also in the news: How one couple paid off $300k of debt in three years, what workers can learn from retirees’ regrets, and the average FICO score hits an all-time high.

Dreaming of Living in a New Place? Here’s How to Make It a Reality
One step at a time.

How I Ditched Debt: Small Wins Help Achieve a Big Dream
How one couple paid off over $300K in three years.

What Workers Can Learn From Retirees’ Regrets: Save More Now
The sooner, the better.

Average FICO score hits all-time high
The nation’s average score is now 706.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Your guide to earning bonus miles with airline promotions. Also in the news: 4 important features to finding the perfect home, why some people don’t mind overpaying the IRS, and this cash-envelope budgeting system turns back-to-school shopping into a money lesson.

Your Guide to Earning Bonus Miles With Airline Promotions
Check out these limited-time offers.

Look for these 4 important features to find the perfect home
Sometimes good enough is perfect.

Here’s why these people don’t mind overpaying the IRS
They’d rather get a refund.

This cash-envelope budgeting system turns back-to-school shopping into a money lesson
Letting your kids make the decisions.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to qualify for first-time home buyer benefits. Also in the news: The best investments you can make right now, how to bypass ATM fees while you’re on the road, and how financial therapy might help you get to the root of your money problems.

First-Time Home Buyer Benefits: How to Qualify
Perks for new buyers.

The Best Investments You Can Make Right Now
Planning carefully.

How to bypass ATM fees while you’re on the road
More money in your pocket.

Money problems? Here’s how financial therapy might help
Getting to the root of the problem.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why the Good Enough home may just be perfect. Also in the news: How to turn your retirement plan into an early-retirement plan, how to mess up a variable annuity, and why it’s important to calculate the cost of college – not just tuition.

The ‘Good Enough’ Home May Be Just Perfect
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

How to Turn Your Retirement Plan Into an Early-Retirement Plan
Tweaking your ideas about retirement.

How to Mess Up a Variable Annuity
Mistakes can be costly.

Calculate the Total Cost of College—Not Just Tuition
There’s a whole lot more to pay for than just classes.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 simple ways to get out of credit card debt faster. Also in the news: Why you should take a first-time homebuyer class, taxes on micro-investing earnings, and 10 frugal back-to-school shopping tips.

5 Simple Ways to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Faster
Becoming debt-free faster.

First-Time Home Buyer Class: Why Take It?
You could have a lower monthly payment.

Don’t Forget About Taxes on Microinvesting Earnings
Those apps come with 1099s.

10 Frugal Back-to-School Shopping Tips
Back-to-school doesn’t have to break your budget.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Don’t let lifestyle creep sneak up on you. Also in the news: 7 steps to buying a house, do you need a tax ID number, and how to make sure you don’t lose your credit card rewards when closing the card.

Don’t Let Lifestyle Creep Sneak Up on You
Living within your means.

What Is a Tax ID Number, and Do I Need One?
Going beyond your Social Security number.

Home Buying Checklist: 7 Steps to Buying a House
Making an important list.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Lose Your Credit Card Rewards When You Close the Card
Reading the fine print.

Q&A: Limiting your rate shopping window

Dear Liz: We’re planning to refinance our mortgage and are concerned about generating multiple credit inquiries which would lower our excellent credit scores. Is there some kind of licensed, bonded ethical middle-agent who could get just one official credit report from each of the three bureaus and then send it to all the lenders I designate? Our FICOs are so good that we want lenders to compete for our refi business but don’t want the process itself to lower FICOs just for inquiries only.

Answer: The FICO formula has you covered. With the FICO scores most lenders use, multiple mortgage inquiries made within a 45-day window are aggregated together and counted as one. Furthermore, any inquiries made within the previous 30 days are ignored entirely. That allows you to rate shop for mortgages without dramatically affecting your scores.

The FICO formula extends this “de-duplication” process to two other types of borrowing: auto loans and student loans. Only similar types of inquiries are grouped together, however. If you shopped for both mortgages and auto loans, then two inquiries eventually would be factored into your credit scores, rather than just one.

Credit cards, personal loans and other types of borrowing don’t get the same treatment. If you apply for two credit cards while shopping for a mortgage, you would have three inquiries — two that are immediately factored into your scores and a third that would be counted after 30 days had passed.

Also, some lenders use older versions of the FICO formula that have a shorter rate-shopping window — 14 days instead of 45. If you want to be absolutely sure your mortgage shopping has a minimal impact on your scores, you can limit your shopping to that two-week period.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What first-time home buyers should know about fixer-uppers. Also in the news: Tips – and warnings – for growing your own cannabis biz, how to figure out if that personal finance advice is nonsense, and why Americans are losing sleep over money.

What First-Time Home Buyers Should Know About Fixer-Uppers
Beware of the money pit.

Tips — and Warnings — for Growing Your Own Cannabis Biz
Making green from the green.

How to Figure Out If That Personal Finance Advice Is Nonsense
Break out the bingo card.

Americans Are Losing Sleep Over Money, Data Shows
Financial insomnia.